Being called a champion is usually reserved for sports teams or athletes who have conquered all comers.

But through hard work and dedication, one local woman was recently named champion of the entire state.

Jenny Herman, local Small Business Development Center consultant, has been named the Women in Business Champion of the Year for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Minnesota District office.

Herman said when the Minnesota SBA director called her and told her she had won the award, she was “very pleased and humbled. I believe I’m just doing my job.”

The annual Women in Business Champion recognition honors individuals who have fulfilled a commitment to the advancement of women’s business ownership, according to a release. Elaine Hanson, director of the University of Minnesota-Duluth Center for Economic Development and the northeast Minnesota SBDC at UMD, nominated Herman for the award.

Hanson is her superior, Herman said, so it felt good to have her work acknowledged in that way.

“It’s encouraging and inspires me to continue serving the needs of the small business community in our county,” Herman said.

Herman has earned a reputation as a one-person financial authority, professional supporter and advisor for area small businesses, said the news release. She has extensive experience in finance and continues to use that expertise to help businesses navigate issues including exporting, SBA loan packaging, accounting issues, and federal, state and local government financing.

The award isn’t just a personal recognition either, Herman said. It shows Koochiching County is a place that fosters small business growth.

“There is strong support in our region for small business development,” Herman said. “The KEDA (Koochiching Economic Development Authority) has proven its investment and commitment to small business by its continuous support of my full-time SBDC position.”

In addition to her role as a business consultant, Herman teaches workshops designed to educate business owners, coordinates the local Junior Achievement and CEOs in the Classroom programs and is a member of the Women’s Business Network in Fort Frances.

She has also created and sustained an active International Women’s Business Network for the past seven years.

“Of the total clients with whom I worked since I began, more than 50 percent of them have been women,” Herman said. “Women are great entrepreneurs and our work in Koochiching County is strengthening the environment for more women to make the investment in small businesses.”

Herman will be honored at the Minnesota Small Business Week Awards program May 7 at the Minneapolis Marriott Northwest.